Severe blood shortage: Red Cross issues immediate call for blood and platelet donations

The American Red Cross is facing a severe blood shortage and urgently needs blood and platelet donors to give now to avoid delays in lifesaving medical care for patients.

Volunteer blood drive hosts are also critically needed to prevent the shortage from worsening this winter.

During September and October, the Red Cross collected over 21,000 fewer blood and platelet donations than what hospitals needed. Blood donors of all blood types, especially type O, and platelet donors are urged to make an appointment to donate at or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Fewer blood drives in September and October coupled with hurricanes Michael and Florence, which caused thousands of blood and platelet donations to go uncollected, were key contributing factors to the current blood shortage.

An additional 4,300 blood drives nationally – in the Appalachian Blood Services Region approximately 80 drives are needed and in the Mid-Atlantic Blood Services Region approximately 140 drives are needed in December, January and February to help stop the shortage from continuing throughout winter. Donations often decline during the winter holidays when many groups postpone blood drives while regular donors are busy with holiday activities and travel. Severe winter weather may also cause blood drive cancellations contributing to fewer donations than needed.

Upcoming blood donation opportunities include:

• Nov. 17: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Ronceverte Volunteer Fire Dept, 722 Ronceverte Avenue

• Nov. 26: 12 noon to 6 p.m., Lewisburg United Methodist Church, 214 E. Washington Street

• Dec. 1: 1 to 6 p.m., Greenbrier Valley Airport, 558 Airport Road

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